Musings about landfills are never joyful but musings about diverting trash from those landfills most definitely are.
Next weekend, Aug. 26 to 28, the Trash 2 Treasure Student Association of the Univerire will hold a sale for returning students to outfit their dorms with items that very easily could have ended up in landfills.
As a joyful celebrant of the art of reusing and recycling, I could not be happier to promote this event, this idea, this tremendous sale. And FYI, even if you are of an age where you no longer are outfitting your own dorm room, you can still attend this event. It’s open to all.
Six years ago, UNH student Alex Freid (’13) spotted overflowing dumpsters filled with items students simply threw away rather than to carry home for summer. These items included couches, shower caddies, fridges and roommates.
Okay, I’m kidding about the roommates, but the other stuff? It was all there, ready to be hauled to the landfill. But Freid then thought, “why not clean this up and sell it back to students upon their return?” And the program of Trash 2 Treasure (T2T) began.
Now, six years later, according to Bob Keefe, one of the current coordinators of T2T, this program has “recycled 5,000 electronics, saved over 250 tons of waste from landfills, donated at least five tons of food to local shelters, saved UNH over $10,000 in waste disposal costs and approximately $250,000 for people who would have bought the same items for much higher prices at box stores.”
Wow. Those are amazing numbers; even more information about this event and this group can be found on the T2T Facebook page: UNH Trash 2 Treasure.
Having been raised by depression era parents, recycling and re-using was a way of life. I still cannot throw away a ziplock bag without hearing my dad say, “hey, rinse that out!” And one of my favorite conversations of this summer was with my 80-year-old Aunt Sue.
We were discussing whether we could sleep on sheets upon which someone had died. We both decided that with a good washing, that would be a non-issue. “Just use some bleach,” remarked my aunt. And, yes, bleach and a good wash provide many a great second act.
And Alex Freid has prompted many a second act not only at UNH but at a plethora of other institutions by founding the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN). According to Keefe, “Schools throughout the country have started similar ‘move-out programs’ such as DormMania at William & Mary, Goodbye, Goodbuy at RIT in New York, Think Outside the Dumpster at UNH in Connecticut, and several others that were instigated in some way or another by PLAN.”
And this all began here in New Hampshire, what a brilliant legacy.
And if you would like to witness the orchestration of Trash 2 Treasure, come to the sale next weekend. Hours are listed below. No doubt I will see you there musing joyfully on the grand satisfaction from saving money, saving our environment and saving a trip to a box store. May you muse joyfully at the art of the save.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.